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Bedbugs: Why They're Back

Experts Explain Why Bedbugs Are Everywhere Again -- and What to Do

Beat BedBugs at Their Own Game continued...

See more ways to get rid of bedbugs.

When Schal checks into a hotel room, the first thing he does is take out his flashlight and check the bed, mattress seams, headboard, coffee table, and dresser. “I look in cracks and crevices to see if there is any sign of bedbugs,” he says.

Here’s another tip: “Remove the headboard if it is not too heavy and look behind it,” he says. “Bedbugs don’t like to be disturbed by housekeeping when they make the bed or change the sheets.” That is why they may congregate behind or under headboards, where they are less likely to be disturbed.

Viviana Temino, MD, says that bedbug bites can look a lot like hives and that she is seeing a lot more of them these days. She is an assistant professor of allergy and immunology at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

“We have to start to think of bedbugs as possible diagnosis of hives, especially if hives happen at night and in the day you are OK,” she says. Temino was not at the meeting, but reviewed the findings for WebMD.

So, what do you do if you find any bedbugs or bedbug bites?

That is the tricky part, as we are running out of solutions, says Ken Haynes, PhD. He is an entomologist  at the University of Kentucky in Louisville. Insecticide resistance is present in 88% of bedbug populations in different parts of the country, he says.

Resistance means that many of the treatments don’t work anymore. Haynes and colleagues are now trying to understand what went wrong and seeing if they can fix it.

Unless and until they get some answers, “we need to have a better scheme for managing insecticide resistance,” he says. Using heat treatment instead of chemicals may play a role.

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